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Global Lactic Acid Producer Plans To Enter PLA Business

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2. November 2014

Dutch global producer of lactic acid and lactides Corbion Purac (U.S. office in Lenexa, Kansas) has its sights on becoming a PLA producer. Cobion’s CEO Tjerk de Ruiter recently commented that as part of the company’s strategic review, they have confirmed that the demand outlook for PLA is attractive, though at a lower growth pace than assumed previously.

            “Given our strong position in lactic acid, our unique high-heat technology and the market need for a second PLA producer, we plan to forward integrate in the bioplastics value chain, from being a lactide provider to a PLA producer,” says deRuiter. Corbion’s plan is to invest in a 75 kTpa (over 165 million/lb) PLA plant in Thailand, but de Ruiter says that they will only move ahead is they can secure at least one-third of plant capacity in committed PLA volumes from customers. He also says that Corbion will continue to explore strategic alliances as part of its PLA growth strategy, in order to enhance business opportunities while mitigating associated risks,

            Corbion will continue to sell lactides to both existing and new PLA polymerization customers. Many of the company’s existing polymerization customers have already built successfully a strong local presence and distribution channel, with great market coverage, according to de Ruiter. Woldwide PLA capacity is nearly sold out and with the PLA market expected to reach 600 kTpa (13 billion lbs) by 2025, the market is seeking additional PLA suppliers, he says.  

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